Wealth Management

(New York)

Advisors pay attention. For the last two years, many firms, large and small, have been been moving their clients into fee-based accounts. This mostly started as a response to the fiduciary rule, but had the side benefit of driving more revenue for advisors. However, a new lawsuit against Edward Jones says that doing say may violate reverse churning rules. The case could expose all firms that have undertaken the same practice. Consumer Federation of America head Barbara Roper commented that “We have heard persistent reports that this is happening at a number of firms, and I have heard that from sources I consider reliable”.

FINSUM: This is a tough situation for firms. On the one hand you are being subjected to new rules and guidance saying fee-based accounts are better and safer, but because you are moving to such a model (many big brokers almost did away with commission based accounts), you are being subjected to claims of reverse churning. What a mess.

(New York)

One of the big developments in the wealth management industry right now is the big increase in recruitment spending by large independent broker-dealers. Even as wirehouses are cutting back on spending, big independents like LPL, Commonwealth, and Raymond James, are spending big on new talent. The payouts are usually being given in the form of forgivable loans. The spending on such payouts has been large, with LPL increasing its budgets for such items to $159.9m in 2017, 17% higher than the year prior.

FINSUM: So while wirehouses have been cutting back, independents have been heating up.


The fiduciary rule has suffered many blows over the last several months, none stronger than in the 5th circuit court in March. However, despite all the doom and gloom over the rule, there is still a good chance it will hold up. The 5th circuit court was the first circuit court to come in against the rule, which paves the way for the Supreme Court to hear the case (impossible to predict the outcome there). Furthermore, the courts may let an outside party step in and take up the DOL’s right of appeal on the recent 5th circuit court ruling, all of which means the rule is far from gone.

FINSUM: We do not think fiduciary rule advocates are going to give up this easily, especially because there is still a lot of legal recourse available to them.

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